Saturday, August 13, 2011

EO Trip - OMG EO! (Part 1)

As soon as we left Gmunden (say it, Gmunden) it started to pour.  It either rained, poured or pissed cats and dogs the entire trip from Gmunden to Bad Hall.  We not only felt like there was an ominous dark cloud following us to Bad Hall, there quite literally was.

And this is the part of my trip where there detailed photo diary breaks up into random narrative (and any photos have probably been posted on facebook already).  I didn't take many photos after arriving at Bad Hall. But that's probably for the best because who wants to see dozens of someone else's vacation photos?  I imagine that my last 6 blog posts are the equivalent of my neighbors politely but determinedly requesting my presence to their vacation slideshow and me not being able to find an excuse.

When we got to Bad Hall we found our hotel with only a minor detour to the towns aquatic centre.  We all got our room keys and decided to check out everyone's rooms  so we could see how ours measured up. First was Laura's which was a moderate sized room with a single bed and a balcony.  Nice.  Then Nancy's which was a HUGE double room with a balcony.  Jealous!  Then Susan, who had a huge double room.  No balcony, but good size room.  An then me.  We walk into my room and it's a single bed and... well nothing else would fit in there!   It's the smallest room you could ever imagine.  I ranted and railed at the front desk but they swore that they couldn't get me anything better.  I managed to get a different room on the floor above, but the room was the same size and even hotter because it was up higher.  Great.  I had to spend a night in that room but I did manage to get a larger room with a double bed the following day.  I had to pay more but since I no longer felt like I was sleeping in a coffin it was worth it.

Practice on Friday was good, not much to say about that.  Afterwards Laura, Nancy and I went for a long walk in the woods near the hotel.  None of us remembered our iphones, which is a shame because we would have had some good photos from that walk!  We found hammocks, sculptures and a playground where we could have provided some great photos.

We also went for a walk through town and we did remember to take our iphones for that.  We ran into a few Team USA members (we frequently did when walking through town - it wasn't a large town.)

When we first arrived at the hotel we were a bit shocked to see people wandering around the lobby and restaurant in their bathrobes.  But that was nothing compared to what we saw around the town!

Opening ceremonies were fun once the got started.  I'm not a huge fan of opening ceremonies.  Not because of the ceremonies themselves, but more because of the annoying chaos leading up to them.  But once we were out on the field it was fun.
"I love opening ceremonies!"

Kep could live without them.

Nika could too.

Maze was all, like, whatever...

And then the competition! (which will come in the next post)

EO Trip - Journey to Bad Hall (Part 2)

Gmunden was beautiful but as we reached there the weather started to change (seriously, it's fun to say Gmunden, try it.  Gmunden.)

There was more water to torture Icon.  It didn't matter that he had gone swimming in the morning.  He wanted that water.

A swan and her goslings.

Attack of the swans!

Oh look, we're eating again!

Friday, August 12, 2011

EO Trip - Journey to Bad Hall (Part 1)

I was pretty sure that Bad Hall wouldn't have much water so I had to get one more swimming opportunity in for Icon before we left Fuschl.  On Thursday morning I got up before breakfast and took Icon for a walk around the lake to find a more appropriate swimming hole.

The path along the lake was arduous at times and Icon was worried about me twisting my ankle.  He didn't want this to happen and affect his performance at EO so he insisted that I use a hiking stick.

After walking about 10 minutes we found a wonderful (non-swampy) swimming area where Icon could swim to his heart's content.

Have I mentioned that I want to spend a month on the lake?  I was wrong, I want to live there forever!

But eventually we had to leave so I could pack and get ready to leave the most beautiful place on earth.

On the way back we met some new friends.
Icon was saying "You're lucky you're behind that fence, sheep"

The sheep responded "You're lucky you're behind that fence, dog"

We took a scenic route to Bad Hall, stopping first at a town called Bad Ischl and then at a town called Gmunden, which is really fun to say (seriously, try it.  It's fun.)

Bad Ischl was an upscale town that had a mean age of about 70.  It would have been higher but our new little friend was an outlier that brought down the average.

The town had some wonderful shopping.  I was tempted to stop here for some fruits and veggies but couldn't think of a place to store them.

Slightly sick of walking, we decided to take a 'train' ride around the town.

We were happy to be sitting!

On one of the 'train stops', Kep and Icon made a new friend.  The man seemed to love dogs so much, he was so happy to spend a short time talking to them and petting them.  I was touched to see the dogs bring so much happiness to someone.  This is my favorite photo from the entire trip.

On a slightly lighter note, as the 'train' was driving down one of the streets I gasped and screamed, 'We have to go there!'  The store was displaying Barabapapas merchandise!  I remember Barbapapas fondly from my childhood but I know my sister still loves it.  I had to get her something.

Clickety Click—Barba Trick

Thursday, August 11, 2011

EO Trip - Salzkammergut (part 2)

We spent a day in Salzburg, which started out on a positive note.  As soon as we entered old town I made a right turn and ended up in the middle of a marching army.  I was told by multiple police to turn around and leave, but it took some time to find space for a u-turn...

Salzburg is a beautiful city but very stark and grey.  Not at all what I expected from the sound of music.  There were some splashes of color though.

More dog posing!

This cemetery looked like the place that the Von Trapps hid from the Austrian military and I really wanted to pose the dogs behind a tomb stone like in the movie, but someone had locked them for some odd reason.  Maybe to keep crazy dog people out.

The obligatory church.

I'm sharing my photos in the order I took them so they may seem random at times.  Here is the view from our room balcony, we had a wonderful babbling brook right behind us that lulled us to sleep.

Oh look!  We're eating again!

I had a caprese salad.  It was VERY good.  The fries and beer were mine too so don't think I'm all healthy or anything.

Ahhh, water....

After close to 2 weeks of being tortured by water in all forms, Icon finally got to go swimming!

Dogs weren't allowed on the beaches so we had to find a slightly swampy place for the dogs to swim.

They didn't care though!

There was a wonderful open field across the street from our hotel where the dogs could romp and play off-leash.

The last day we were there, unbeknownst to us, someone sprayed the field with what smelled like liquid cow manure.  Certain dogs that will not be named had a blast rolling in the field and the smell lingered for days despite being bathed... (But Icon wasn't one of them!  He's a very meticulous dog and wouldn't be caught dead smelling like cow shit.  Rampage would have been all over that though.)

Nancy is wondering where the weird smell is coming from.

Our last night at Fuschl am see we got a live concert in town!  Icon embarrassed me by barking and tugging on his leash when people clapped after each song.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

EO Trip - Salzkammergut (part 1)

Really really early Monday morning we left Mellingen to head back through Basel and to Frankfurt to pick up Laura and Kep at the airport.  The timing worked out perfectly, I was driving into the terminal when I got a call from Laura saying she had arrived.  I was happy to be able to say I was only minutes away!

We loaded Kep and his luggage into the car and started on our trip to the Salzkammergut region in Austria.

We really had no clue what to expect for our hotel.  Nancy had spent some time in the area a few years prior and remembered it being really nice so we reserved a hotel a week before we arrived.

But it was wonderful!  It was in a town called Fuschl am see (which means something like Fuschl on the lake).  It is a small lake in the lake region near Salzburg.  I would love to rent a house on the lake for a month and spend the time swimming in the lake and hiking in the hills.  Of course I couldn't take all of my dogs with me and I couldn't leave them at home so that will never happen, but it would be nice.

Hotel Mohenwirt.

Cute town

There were diary cows in the town that you could watch being milked at night.  At times the smell wasn't so great though ;)

Ah, the beautiful lake.  We got really lucky with the weather.  When Laura and I arrived it was cold and cloudy but by the next day the weather was mostly sunny and warm for the rest of the time there!

Nancy used Ace as Swan bait.  No one was harmed in the shooting of this photo.

Icon wanted the swan too!  Kep wanted to smell the flowers.

On our day trips we were able to fit 4 people and 4 dogs in the car.  Ace and Icon were relegated to the 'boot'.  Luckily they got along.

The mountain near St Gilgen had spectacular views.  I would love to tell you we walked up the mountain but we took a gondola. ;)

I tried to get a photo with me in it, but it didn't work very well.  I blame the photographer.


We had lots of fun posing the dogs in various locations.  Strangers loved it too and when we were taking photos of our dogs it wasn't uncommon to have a group of 3 or 4 other people taking photos as well.

There were lots of cows on the mountain.  After my experiences with the aggressive California cows I was a bit scared of these ones, but they barely moved.

Icon and I carefully approach a cow.  We were both scared.


Mad cow!

We walked some more and were passed at times by toddlers and people pushing baby carriers.  It was a bit humbling (which is why I don't have photos of that)

We ate a lot on this trip (which means I enjoyed myself!) and I just loved the times we by the lakeshore.

Icon was a bit tortured by the water though.  We had been in europe for a week and a half, always near the water, and he had yet to go swimming.

Kep was unimpressed.